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Governance Models
for Cultural Districts
A Report by James Doeser
and Anna Marazuela Kim

Commissioned by the
Global Cultural Districts Network
Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                           GCDN


                                    4      Foreword

                                    7      Executive Summary

                                   10      Introduction

                                   13      Approaches to governance in cultural districts

                                   20      Income, expenditure, representation and decision-making in cultural districts

                                   24      Case Study: QUARTIER DES SPECTACLES MONTREAL

                                   27      Case Study: WEST KOWLOON CULTURAL DISTRICT

                                   30      Case Study: EXHIBITION ROAD CULTURAL GROUP

                                   34      Case Study: 22@ BARCELONA

                                   38      Case Study: DALLAS ARTS DISTRICT

                                   42      Case Study: MUSEUMSQUARTIER WIEN

                                   45      Putting the results in context

                                   48      Best practice in district governance

                                   51      Conclusion

                                   54      Appendix 1: Methodology

                                   62      Appendix 2: References

                                   64      Appendix 3: Acknowledgements
Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                             GCDN

                                           This report was commissioned by the Global Cultural Districts Network
                                           (GCDN). We are grateful for the input and advice from our members and
                                           other contributors.

About the authors                          Dr James Doeser is a freelance researcher, writer and consultant based in
                                           London. He works with artists, cultural organisations and policymakers in the
                                           UK and overseas to apply rigorous research to the development of policy,
                                           strategy and programmes of activity. Until 2013 he was a senior researcher
                                           at Arts Council England. He is currently on the advisory board of the journal,
                                           Cultural Trends, an Honorary Research Associate at the UCL Institute of
                                           Archaeology and a Research Associate at King’s College London (with whom
                                           he has published major reports on the history of arts and young people and
                                           culture in the service of soft power at the United Nations).

                                           Dr Anna Marazuela Kim is an art and architectural historian, independent
                                           scholar and research fellow of the Thriving Cities Lab at the Institute for
                                           Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, where she advances
                                           research on the role of art and aesthetics in civic thriving. Since 2011, she
                                           has been a member of international research groups in the US and Europe
                                           and is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, most recently at
                                           the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and the Free University in Berlin.
                                           Currently she is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced
                                           Studies at University College London.

Steering Committee                         Adrian Ellis, Chair, GCDN and Director, AEA Consulting
                                           Jessica Ferey, former Deputy Director, GCDN
                                           Anna Jobson, Director, Change Management at University of the Arts London
                                           Beatrice Pembroke, Director, GCDN

About GCDN                                 The Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) is a network of global
                                           centers of arts and culture established in 2014 that fosters cooperation
                                           and knowledge-sharing among those responsible for conceiving, funding,
                                           building, and operating cultural districts. It exists to offer support to the
                                           leadership of organisations in the public, private and non-profit sectors that
                                           are responsible for planning and managing cultural districts, precincts and
                                           quarters or any areas with a significant concentration of cultural activities
                                           and organisations through convenings, research, and collaborations. GCDN
                                           is an initiative of AEA Consulting.

Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                GCDN


                                           A couple of years ago, when GCDN was in its infancy, we did a poll of the
                                           issues that most preoccupied actual and potential members – that is, people
                                           responsible for planning and managing cultural districts. There were some
                                           differences in the preoccupations of ‘start up’ districts and established ones,
                                           and some geographic differences. But there was a remarkable consistency
                                           with respect to the high ranking given to governance – the mechanisms
                                           by which strategy is set and overseen; the ways in which operational staff
                                           are held to account for their actions; and the ways in which stakeholders’
                                           perspectives inform planning and management.

                                           The term ‘governance’ was not always used. One memorable way in which
                                           the issue was formulated was: “How do you ensure that the right voices are
                                           heard during the planning of a cultural district; and that the right voices are
                                           also heard during its operation.” The point was that there are interests – artists
                                           often, but also local community members and others – whose perspectives
                                           are important to both planning and management, but whose ‘voices’ can
                                           be drowned out, by central or local government, or by developers, whose
                                           interests are important but should probably not be decisive.

                                           Another early concern expressed was to understand the relationship
                                           between the various business models that underpin cultural districts – the
                                           span of responsibilities for which they are responsible and the income
                                           streams that support them – and how this affects, or should affect, their
                                           constitutional structure.

                                           This report, undertaken by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim, explores
                                           these and other dimensions of governance in a systematic fashion, drawing
                                           on interviews, questionnaires and case studies. It combines primary and
                                           secondary research in a rich mix and seeks to synthesize a vast range of
                                           experience drawn from a wide range of political cultures. It offers some
                                           compelling guidelines as to good practice in governance. But it also
                                           provides the evidence from which those guidelines are drawn so readers can
                                           dig deeper and draw their own conclusions.

                                           The intention is not to add to a body – in the event, a fairly slim body – of
                                           literature on the governance of cultural districts. Rather, it is to assist people

Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                              GCDN

                                           ‘in the field’ and to give them support in their discussions with stakeholders
                                           as they try to ensure that the structures of oversight and control of their
                                           organizations are efficient, effective and equitable.

                                           We are grateful to the authors and all involved and hope very much that the
                                           results are of practical use to GCDN members and the wider community
                                           engaged in cultural planning in its multiple aspects.

                                           Adrian Ellis
                                           Chair, GCDN

                                           Beatrice Pembroke
                                           Director, GCDN

                                           UAL is contributing to the development of a Government-led cultural and
                                           education district in East London, and is also trying to nurture and amplify
                                           the re-emergence of this part of London as a centre for fashion businesses.
                                           All of this in a part of London that has a rich history of industrial innovation
                                           and creativity and is emerging as a new centre for tech innovation. The
                                           question was: how do we design our governance, in both cases, to pay
                                           appropriate attention to this local craft heritage and the stakeholders
                                           invested in it, while creating enough structure and purpose to forge the
                                           future? We were therefore delighted to be part of the commissioning and
                                           steering group for this piece of research into the governance of cultural and
                                           innovation districts. Key insights for us are the attributes of good governance
                                           and the need for flexibility as well as – most critically – the importance of
                                           involving local communities and respecting their rights to the city. There’s
                                           an opportunity for the GCDN to build a wider movement of cultural districts
                                           working in this way – we’re in!

                                           Anna Jobson
                                           Director of Change Management, University of the Arts, London, UK

Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                         GCDN

                                           The most recent literature on cultural
                                           districts advocate a mode of governance
                                           that is networked across hierarchies
                                           and sectors, highly collaborative, and
                                           responsive to the concerns of citizens
                                           and society.”
                                           James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim

Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                            GCDN

Introduction                               This report, commissioned by the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN),
                                           draws on primary research and a literature review to capture good practices,
                                           and identifies which stakeholders should be “at the table” for informed and
                                           effective decision making and oversight. The research has also revealed the
                                           range of business models that underpin these governing entities, reviewing
                                           how cultural districts are generating revenue and expending it. The research
                                           is intended to be fully international in scope, with useful lessons for GCDN
                                           members and other practitioners around the world.

Method                                     Each governance model provides an example for future and existing
                                           cultural districts to learn from and shows how cultural districts may
                                           incorporate appropriate representation of stakeholders in decision making
                                           and oversight.

Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                           GCDN

Cultural district                          The research began with an extensive review of existing studies of cultural
governance                                 districts. This literature review was supplemented with two pieces of primary
                                           research: an online survey for managers of cultural districts (which gathered
                                           26 responses) and six in-depth interviews which formed the basis for six case
                                           studies. The districts chosen for the case studies were:

                                           Quartier Des Spectacles, Montreal (Canada)
                                           West Kowloon Cultural District (Hong Kong)
                                           Exhibition Road Cultural Group (UK)
                                           22@ Barcelona (Spain)
                                           Dallas Arts District (USA)
                                           MuseumsQuartier Vienna (Austria)

                                           The governance and management models of cultural districts almost
                                           invariably reflects the specific prior conditions, constraints and ambitions
                                           of each individual district. They are established in a mould that is formed
                                           by the political dynamics within their own nations and cities, rather than
                                           as a result of a theoretical choice with prior knowledge of how effective
                                           any one governance model will be in practice. However, as will be evident
                                           in the examples in this study, successful governance often requires the
                                           re-evaluation and adaptation of a cultural district’s original model in
                                           response to changing circumstances and aims, whether they be political,
                                           cultural, economic or social. One potential contribution of this research is
                                           to offer reflective lessons from the experience of others that balance the
                                           influence of immediate factors on choices about governance or impediments
                                           to their realisation.

                                           The governance and management of cultural districts is often divided into
                                           two broad categories: those run at some stage in their development in a
                                           “bottom-up” fashion (representing a grass-roots move by local community
                                           groups, business or artists) and those run in a “top-down” way (often with an
                                           impetus from central or local government).

                                           The survey revealed a diverse            'Successful governance
                                           range of governance structures
                                           adopted by cultural districts within     often requires the
                                           these two types. Local cultural          re-evaluation and
                                           organisations, higher education          adaptation of a
                                           institutions and politicians are
                                           most likely of all stakeholders
                                                                                    cultural district's
                                           groups to be on the boards of            original model in
                                           cultural districts. Artists, local       response to changing
                                           businesses and local community
                                           groups are most likely to be
                                           involved through advisory groups.        and aims, whether
                                           The leadership of districts included     they be political,
                                           in this study generally wanted           cultural,economic or
                                           to reach out more to the private
                                           sector and to individual artists to
                                           bring them into their governance
                                           structures, recognising they were
                                           currently under-represented.

Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                GCDN

                                           Regardless of their particular governance structures, most cultural districts
                                           in the study identify their prime responsibilities as attracting visitors and
                                           programming activity. Even those with a mission to animate public space
                                           with events or artwork often also reported a desire to develop business
                                           activity, innovation and entrepreneurialism.

                                           Cultural districts in this study tend to draw revenue from the beneficiaries of
                                           their activities (audiences, businesses, etc.) in addition to raising funds from
                                           organisations that fall within their territorial footprints (which may be direct
                                           or indirect beneficiaries of the district’s activities). They do this through
                                           mechanisms like donations, in-kind support, subscriptions or levies.

                                           Despite shared aims and features of management, cultural districts are
                                           unique in their specific vision and the contexts of their potential realisation.
                                           Each must confront their own specific challenges with the assets and
                                           objectives that are most relevant to them. However, by scanning the diverse
                                           set of approaches taken around the world, and by delving more deeply
                                           into a handful of specific case studies, this research has been able to draw
                                           out principles and strategies that can usefully inform the development and
                                           design of a district’s governance model.

Principles of good                         This research into cultural districts has uncovered a range of good ideas
governance                                 for developing the governance of cultural districts. As a result, this report
                                           proposes a good governance attributes framework with four dimensions,
                                           each indicative of what a cultural district’s governance structure needs to
                                           have for it to be successful and sustainable:

                                           ——   LEADERSHIP: foster good leadership
                                           ——   STRATEGY: ensure pro-active and responsive planning
                                           ——   OPERATIONS: make best use of resources to deliver consistent quality
                                           ——   PARTNERSHIP: develop appropriate partnerships and embrace advocacy

                                           When is comes to research into cultural district governance, the field is in
                                           its infancy. Many of the districts that participated in this research were in a
                                           state of critical re-evaluation or renewal in terms of their governance. We
                                           hope that this research will benefit cultural districts currently engaged in this
                                           process. The insight uncovered in this study will be crucial for districts who
                                           are confronting the prospect of change, whether in their own structures or
                                           the contexts in which they are operating. It will also be instructive for cultural
                                           districts that are just beginning to develop their model of good governance.

Governance Models for Cultural Districts - A Report by James Doeser and Anna Marazuela Kim - Global Cultural ...
GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                              GCDN


Why study governance?                      This research has examined the various models of governance, oversight
                                           and funding that have been developed around the world, to compare their
                                           respective strengths and weaknesses, and to understand the different
                                           structures of governance that exist. Each governance model provides an
                                           example for future and existing cultural districts to be inspired by and learn

Recognising a diversity                    Attempts to study cultural districts at a global scale have frequently had
of approaches                              to confront the fact that every cultural district is unique, with seemingly
                                           little replicable or applicable models for other districts in other contexts.
                                           Nonetheless, the data and case studies presented in this report seek to draw
                                           out useful comparisons and identify principles and practices that underpin
                                           the most successful cultural districts. Although the report is primarily about
                                           cultural districts, the research has also encompassed design districts and
                                           innovation districts.

Methodology                                This research began by reviewing existing studies of cultural districts, and
                                           supplemented that insight with two additional pieces of data-collection: an
                                           online survey for managers of cultural districts and six in-depth interviews.
                                           The survey was designed to capture a range of information about the
                                           structures, objectives, governance approaches, income and expenditures
                                           of cultural districts. There were 26 responses to the survey, with information
                                           from districts old and new, large and small, from more than a dozen different
                                           countries around the world. This information was supplemented with six
                                           in-depth interviews with managers of a sub-set of the cultural districts who
                                           had completed the survey. The interviews formed the basis for six case
                                           studies. These were designed to understand better the thinking behind the
                                           governance of cultural districts, what worked well and what lessons could
                                           be learned about governance more generally. The result of this analysis
                                           was not to arrive at an all-encompassing typology of cultural districts, but
                                           rather to understand how the contexts and objectives of cultural districts
                                           relate to their management and governance. A fuller description of the study
                                           methodology can be found in Appendix 1.

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                             GCDN

Classifying cultural                       A small number of researchers have attempted to classify cultural districts
districts and their                        along the lines of their governance and management styles. These analyses
                                           tend to look at what is tangibly different about districts: their activities and
governance structures                      procedures (especially financing and programming) rather than what their
                                           governance and management structures are like (which are often a response
                                           to their circumstances and specific objectives).

                                           Cultural districts have stubbornly resisted classification and taxonomy, partly
                                           due to their sheer variety, but also because each one often comprises a
                                           context-specific response to local challenges or opportunities. However, a
                                           useful high level typology, developed by Stantagata1 and Francesconi2 goes
                                           as follows:

                                           —— Industrial cultural district (spontaneously born from an agglomeration of
                                              related organisations in pursuit of mutual support)
                                           —— Institutional cultural district (formalising the existing production
                                              processes, often with a ‘Made In …’ style of badging or branding)
                                           —— Museum cultural district (the result of a top-down imposition made by
                                              policymakers revolving around a museum or collection of museums)
                                           —— Metropolitan cultural district (demarcating the area in which many
                                              cultural organisations are based whose character and strengths are a
                                              result of that agglomeration)

                                           It has been more common to simply define all of these types of districts as
                                           “advanced cultural districts”3.

                                           Amanda Ashley’s study for Americans for the Arts classifies cultural districts
                                           according to structures of management. She identifies six distinct types,
                                           defined by their lead organisation, and suggests what each type can offer:

                                           1   Stantagata (2002)
                                           2   Francesconi (2015)
                                           3   Sacco et al. (2008) expand this to describe “an idiosyncratic mix of top-down planned
                                               elements and emergent, self-organised activities coalescing into a model of local
                                               development in which cultural activity displays significant strategic complementarities with
                                               other production chains within typical post-industrial contexts” p3

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                GCDN

                                           —— A government-led structure, whether municipal, sub-municipal, county,
                                              regional or state level, creates the possibility for “larger district planning
                                              with access to political, financial, and infrastructure support.”

                                           —— A related model, non-(or quasi) governmental, is managed by an
                                              organization as deemed by a government body. In some cases, the
                                              government provides funding and support, but management is taken up
                                              by the non-governmental agency, for example, a Business Innovation
                                              District (BID). Its management model is cited as a success due to its
                                              ability to create strong public-private partnerships, particularly around
                                              property development, and its organisational and administrative support
                                              of the arts as an activator of an urban corridor.

                                           —— Real-estate interests and/or commercial arts businesses typically
                                              characterise a for-profit management model, which is often run by a
                                              development company and involves entrepreneurs. At its best, it can
                                              foster a creative hub of eclectic partners from the arts and industry to
                                              renew an urban area and negotiate periods of economic crisis.

                                           —— A more typical management model is one directed by a non-profit arts
                                              organisation. Reasons for choosing this leadership style include their
                                              eligibility for grant funding for non-profits and ability to pull together arts
                                              interests and communities in the area.

                                           —— Non-profit, non-Arts organisations, often Community Development
                                              Corporations (CDCs), generally use existing arts assets to create a
                                              cultural district.

                                           —— The final model is artist-led, which is often supported by members’ fees
                                              and can prioritise creative placemaking and community development4.

                                           Ultimately, this project chose to devise as comprehensive and as rational a
                                           set of district categories as possible. The online survey asked respondents
                                           to identify which categories their district belonged to, but also left space for
                                           districts to self-define where necessary.

Structure of                               The report continues with an outline of the main findings of the online
the report                                 survey, followed by a handful of case studies that illustrate the complexities
                                           of cultural district in more detail. The report concludes by putting all this
                                           new data in context, reflecting on how it adds to existing research before
                                           articulating what factors are necessary for the good governance of cultural

                                           4   Ashley (2014): pp 8-20

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                           GCDN

                                               Approaches to
                                               governance in
                                               cultural districts

                                               The research began with an understanding of purpose, asking respondents
                                               about both what role their district played, and how they described its
                                               governance structure.

                                               What are the functions of your cultural district?
                                               (please select all that apply)

              Attracting domestic visitors

                      Creative production

                     City/region branding

           Attracting international visitors


                 Community development

                    Creative consumption

          Preservation of cultural heritage

          Entrepreneurship and innovation

                              Social equity


                    Other (please specify)

                                                            5            10           15           20      25            30

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                    GCDN

                                                Regardless of their formal governance structures, the bulk of the cultural
                                                districts in the study are dedicated to attracting visitors and programming
                                                activity. Even those with a mission to animate public space with events or
                                                artwork often also reported a desire to develop business activity, innovation
                                                and entrepreneurialism. The respondents who selected “Other” identified
                                                functions such as being a network for the exchange of ideas, and working to
                                                improve public realm.

                                                The survey built upon existing research (with deliberation within the research
                                                team) to arrive at an expansive list of terms to describe different governance
                                                models. The sheer variety of cultural districts responding to the survey (and
                                                cultural districts around the world) is reflected in the data from respondents.

                                                How would you define your cultural district?
                                                (please select the most appropriate from the list, or select 'Other')

             Metropolitan cultural district

                           Creative district

                    Entertainment district

                            Theatre district

              Institutional cultural district

                        Innovation district

                          Museum district

                 Industrial cultural district

          Entrepreneurship and innovation

                    Other (please specify)

                                                        1        2        3        4        5        6        7         8        9

                                                It was heartening to find that most respondents were able to find one
                                                of the above categories to define their cultural district. Those selecting
                                                “Other” emphasised the mixed nature of their districts. To tackle the issue of
                                                governance models head-on, the survey asked cultural districts to pick from
                                                a list of possible approaches, and select which most closely matched their

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                        GCDN

                                                     How would you describe your current governance model?
                                                     (select all that apply)

                      Not-for-profit organization


             Dues-paying membership structure

      Anchor institution (one organization leads
         the efforts behind the cultural district)

                      Public/Private partnership

                              Real estate owners

                              Innovation District

                  Business Improvement District

                              Distributed model

     Ad hoc (ie: no legal structure, but overseen
                   by a voluntary advisory board

                             Trust or Foundation


                          Other (please specify)

                                                              2         4         6         8         10        12        14       16

                                                     Some of these categories are in effect subsets of others, and are therefore
                                                     not mutually exclusive. Districts can therefore be in more than one of
                                                     the choices that were offered in the survey. Many respondents therefore
                                                     selected more than one option. Unpacking the specific structural quality
                                                     that determines the most appropriate category by which to describe
                                                     their governance model has required judgement calls. Those selecting
                                                     “Other” were in a state of formation or flux regarding their governance
                                                     model, or operated through a BID-like entity, or were a subset of another
                                                     larger organisation. When asked to share any formal description of their
                                                     governance structure, yet more variety and complexity was apparent in
                                                     the responses to the survey. The broad categories of governance models
                                                     are outlined in more detail below, drawing from descriptions developed in
                                                     previous research into district structures as well as the full responses to the
                                                     online survey.


GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                               GCDN

Not-for-profit                             These are often CDCs, which generally partner with existing arts
organisation                               organisations to create and run a cultural district. They might be coming
                                           together to address the challenge of increasing property prices by offering
                                           below-market rents, for example, or providing artists loans for façade
                                           improvements and other enhancements to the public realm. They might be
                                           funded through a dues-paying membership structure in which subscribers
                                           have some say in the governance of the district. Alternatively, the district
                                           may be run by a Trust or Foundation or private entity who may provide
                                           resources up-front or on an ongoing basis.

                                           Sometimes the not-for-profit organisation that leads a cultural district is
                                           itself an arts organisation which acts as an anchor institution for the district.
                                           A typical management model for cultural districts is when an individual arts
                                           organisation (or consortium of organisations) extend beyond their building
                                           or footprint to create a cultural district. Such entities are frequently eligible
                                           for grant funding from trusts and foundations, and are able to pull together
                                           arts communities in the area. They are led by arts interests so are able to
                                           be creative and risk-taking from an artistic point of view, without being
                                           overly constrained by political or commercial concerns. Examples of cultural
                                           districts that reflect this model include:

                                           ——   Temple Bar, Ireland
                                           ——   Dallas Arts District, USA
                                           ——   Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, USA
                                           ——   RAB/BKO Réseau des Arts à Bruxelles/Brussels Kunstenoverleg, Belgium
                                           ——   Navy Pier, USA
                                           ——   Exhibition Road Cultural Group, UK
                                           ——   Playhouse Square, USA
                                           ——   Quartier des spectacles Partnership, Canada

Government-led                             These districts are led by government at the municipal, sub-municipal,
                                           county, regional or state level. Typically, the district is managed by a
                                           municipal body that reports directly to the mayor and that is owned and
                                           funded by the city. The district offers benefits such as subsidised space to
                                           arts organisations within the district. This model is especially vulnerable to
                                           unforeseen cutbacks in public funding at a state or local level, and as a result
                                           districts often seek private funding to shore up their finances in the long
                                           term. The case of Changdong Art Village project in Changwon City (South
                                           Korea), a test case for national urban regeneration, illustrates the negative
                                           results of tight, top-down control by city government, which attempted to
                                           regulate the working hours of artists and the aesthetics of their presence
                                           in the area, resulting in restricting the creative talents of the community5.
                                           Examples of government-led districts include:

                                           ——   Seattle Centre
                                           ——   The Denver and Los Angeles Performing Arts Companies
                                           ——   Cultural and Education District, QEOP London (working title), UK
                                           ——   Districte Cultural’H, Spain

                                           5    Park (2016): p175

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                               GCDN

Public/Private                             This structure can be guided by an informal collaboration or a formal
partnership                                partnership between government and the leaders of the cultural district. In
                                           some cases, the government provides funding and support, but management
                                           is taken up by the non-governmental agency, for example, an Innovation
                                           District or Business Improvement District (BID) that pragmatically functions
                                           in a Distributed model. BIDs interact in complex ways – collaboratively,
                                           conflictually and co-operatively - with local and state government and
                                           accountability and management challenges result from their interdependent
                                           (but arms-length) relationships with local governments.

                                           These entities succeed when they are able to create strong public-private
                                           partnerships, particularly around property development and the sound
                                           administrative support of local arts organisations. Examples include Leimert
                                           Park, an historically African-American arts district in South Los Angeles
                                           (now recognised as the most significant of its kind in the city). It developed
                                           as an arts district in an organic, incremental or bottom-up way, led by
                                           artists, cultural enterprises and small local businesses that organised along
                                           horizontal networks over the course of 40 years. Prior to 2010, there was little
                                           formal coordination to its leadership.

                                           A plan announced in 2013 to develop a major public infrastructure project
                                           – a light rail line that included a stop in the district spurred neighbourhood
                                           leaders to create a centralised planning program in 2014. “Vision 2020,”
                                           funded by the City of LA and a local BID, aims to ensure the identity and
                                           unique cultural space of Leimert Park by engaging the community in dialogue
                                           about its future, and also creating a strong and inclusive leadership. The
                                           horizontal networks that have sustained the district and were crucial to
                                           responding to this challenge continue to be a strength; this includes a
                                           network of organisers who coordinate weekly via face-to-face meetings.6

                                           There are further examples in South Korea, where cultural districts are a
                                           relatively common way of structuring the cultural sector. At the Daein Art
                                           Market in Gwangju City, the city government provides subsidies to artists
                                           already in the area whose rents, galleries and programs are managed by
                                           a commissioned project body, and in the Totatoga project in Busan City,
                                           the government provided behind-the-scenes funding to a well-established
                                           network of artists. In effect, the city government took the role of the artists’
                                           patron, but without interfering in the running of the district7. Other examples
                                           of this type of district include:

                                           ——   West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong
                                           ——   LAC Lugano arte e Cultura, Switzerland
                                           ——   Culture Mile, London
                                           ——   Lincoln Road Cultural District, USA
                                           ——   Bras Basah Bugis Precinct & National Museum of Singapore

                                           6    Borrup (2014): pp14-16
                                           7    Park (2016): pp176-178

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                 GCDN

Real estate owners                         This arrangement is often run by a development company led by
                                           entrepreneurs. The cultural district likely begins with a private developer
                                           who partners with a city’s Development Corporation to redevelop an area
                                           and thereby support both commercial enterprise and arts organisations. By
                                           not relying on vulnerable public financing the fate of the district rests of the
                                           probity and profitability of the private enterprise that runs it. At the same
                                           time the interests of the development corporation (rather than any other
                                           stakeholder) tends to shape the district’s priorities.

                                           When a cultural district is owned and run by a private company, its
                                           governance structure is dictated by the individual decision-makers within
                                           that entity. There may or may not be oversight by a board of trustees or
                                           shareholders. The degree to which the company’s owners or directors
                                           take a direct interest in the running of the district will depend on local
                                           circumstances and individual personalities. The governance structure that
                                           is established to run the district can therefore be fully integrated into the
                                           parent company, or at arms length in an independent trust or similar vehicle.

                                           The distance between executive decision-makers and local stakeholders can
                                           affect the priorities of individual real estate districts. The top-down approach
                                           taken at Frederiksholm-Dokoen in Copenhagen saw the district pursue
                                           wider social concerns such as housing for families, rather than specific and
                                           immediate concerns that took advantage of existing assets and activity
                                           within the area (which revolved around an art school on the site)8.
                                           Other examples of this real estate cultural districts are:

                                           —— MuseumsQuartier Wien, Austria
                                           —— Alserkal Avenue, UAE
                                           —— Genesis Beijing, China

Ad hoc (i.e.: no                           In one study of the Veneto region, the performance of cultural clusters
legal structure, but                       depended not on a top-down structure or formal entity, but rather on a
                                           successful network of energetic partners who were able to exploit their
perhaps overseen by                        proximity and connectedness9. These clusters operated much like a formally-
a voluntary advisory                       constituted district but did not have a dedicated secretariat or structure in
board)                                     place.

                                           Often, this type of cultural district is artist-led, and is frequently supported by
                                           fees from a founding group of entrepreneurial members to finance a creative
                                           cluster to prioritise creative placemaking and community development. The
                                           Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, Inc. (NEMAD), the city’s first cultural
                                           district, was created in 2014 by artists and local business owners (among
                                           others). It was designed to address the need for formal leadership to
                                           create a more stable environment for artists amid changing real estate and
                                           commerce in the area. The district is located in an industrial area of the city
                                           which had attracted artists since the 1980s and eventually developed into
                                           a nationally-recognised center for the arts and culture. A decentralised,
                                           informal network of organisations and individuals has been key to the area’s
                                           identity and success. Clearly artists are crucial to this particular governance

                                           8   Lidegaard, Nuccio & Bille (2018)
                                           9   Calcagno et al. (2012)

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                             GCDN

                                           structure, and the question remains whether the decentralised network
                                           model, in the absence of a single entity managing it, could adequately
                                           respond to large challenges in the district, such as the sale of anchor
                                           buildings10. Examples of this type of cultural district include:

                                           —— Aotea Arts Quarter, New Zealand
                                           —— East London Fashion Cluster, UK
                                           —— Brooklyn Cultural District

From governance to                         In addition to looking at governance models, we also sought to understand
management                                 how the management of cultural districts is undertaken around the world.
                                           The survey asked respondents to identify the main sources of their income
                                           and expenditure, and who and who was not in a position to shape the
                                           direction of the districts.

                                           10   Borrup (2014): pp11-13

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                     GCDN

                                               Income, expenditure,
                                               representation and
                                               decision-making in
                                               cultural districts
Income                                         A stable and defensible revenue stream is important for the stability of
                                               the cultural district and the quality of its activities and outputs. Top-down
                                               and bottom-up districts face different challenges in the accumulation and
                                               sustainability of their income, with the former being blessed with a lump
                                               sum but one that needs sustaining and proofing against changes in political
                                               priorities, and the latter needing to incrementally build up capital and

                                               Cultural districts in this study tended to draw revenue from the beneficiaries
                                               of their activities (audiences, businesses, etc.) in addition to raising funds
                                               from organisations that fall within their territorial boundaries (which may be
                                               direct or indirect beneficiaries of the district’s activities). Not replicating or
                                               duplicating existing taxes and duties was important. For cultural districts to
                                               ask for or expect any additional subscriptions there must be a distinct value
                                               proposition, not something that replaces or displaces existing providers or

                                               What is the primary source of your funding?
                                               (please select one from list)

                State or local government

                     National government

          Subscriptions/membership dues

                      Individual donations

         Sales (event tickets, catering etc)

                    Other (please specify)

                                                            2             4             6            8             10           12

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                              GCDN

                                             Even where the sources listed above were not selected as the “primary”
                                             source, they nonetheless tend to feature in the suite of other sources from
                                             which districts drew their funding. “Other” sources of income identified but
                                             not listed above include corporate donations, sponsorship, and grants from

Expenditure                                  What is the primary focus of your spending?


                           Staff: internal



               Public space management

                          Staff: contract

                  Property (maintenance)

                   Other (please specify)

                                                       1           2          3          4          5          6            7

                                             The above list represents both the main areas of spending by cultural
                                             districts as well as the categories that also make up the other spending
                                             concerns of the districts (so for example the districts for whom advertising
                                             is the main area would also have staff and programming costs that took up
                                             the remainder of their budget). Those who selected “Other” had spending
                                             commitments on things like consultation, strategy development and

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                 GCDN

Representation                               This complex chart shows that local cultural organisations, higher education
                                             institutions and politicians are most likely of all the groups listed above to
                                             be on the boards of cultural districts. Artists, local businesses and local
                                             community groups are most likely to be involved through advisory groups.

                                             How are stakeholders represented in the work of your cultural district?
                                             (please select all that apply)

            Higher educational institution

                    Trusts or Foundations

             Local/national tourism office

              Local cultural organizations

                        Local businesses

                 Local community groups

                National government staff

                  Local government staff

                         Local politicians



                                                       10%          20%        30%        40%       50%         60%        70%

                                               Other         Not represented    On advisory group    On board          On staff

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                GCDN

                                             Are there any stakeholders you feel are missing from current governance
                                             structure? (please select all that apply)




                  Educational institutions

                        Local businesses

                 Local community groups

              Local cultural organizations

                National government staff

                         Local politicians

                   Other (please specify)

                                                        1          2           3          4           5          6             7

                                             Clearly, districts in this study wanted to reach out more to the private sector
                                             and to individual artists. Some of the respondents who selected “Other”
                                             chose to explain their selection from other categories to the survey, or
                                             highlighted the need for more local representation and one respondent
                                             voiced concerns over the diversity of their current governing bodies.

Learning more from                           The 26 responses to the online survey painted a complex picture of many
case studies                                 districts with multi-layered governance structures with multiple stakeholders
                                             and financial relationships, many of which were in a state of flux. Below we
                                             document six case study districts in order to understand in more depth the
                                             choices that cultural districts face in their governance and management (and
                                             how their specific circumstances shape those choices). The six districts were
                                             chosen to illustrate a broad variety of district types and locations world-
                                             wide. They are:

                                             ——   Quartier Des Spectacles, Montreal (Canada)
                                             ——   West Kowloon Cultural District (Hong Kong)
                                             ——   Exhibition Road Cultural Group (UK)
                                             ——   22@ Barcelona (Spain)
                                             ——   Dallas Arts District (USA)
                                             ——   MuseumsQuartier Vienna (Austria)

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                     GCDN

Case Study
                                           Quartier Des
                                           Spectacles Montreal
Origin story                               The idea to create a Quartier des Spectacles (QDS), a cultural hub in
                                           downtown Montreal, was first developed in 2001, a year prior to a major
                                           summit which sought to shape the future of the city. The mayor was
                                           convinced that culture and creativity could be used to attract more
                                           economic, touristic and cultural activity to Montreal. The city is home to
                                           many high-performing cultural institutions like Cirque du Soleil, it has a rich
                                           musical scene creating what is called the “Montreal sound”, it has been
                                           declared UNESCO Design City, has a thriving post-production movie industry

                                           “The task at hand was not to create a neighbourhood from scratch, but
                                           rather to identify it, highlight its rich cultural assets and equip it with the
                                           infrastructure to accommodate outdoor events.”11


GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                               GCDN

                                           The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership was created in 2003 as a not-for-
                                           profit organization and has several mandates, including the development
                                           and the promotion of cultural programming on its public venues.

Activities                                 The Partnership operates and animates the public spaces, in addition to
                                           hosting over 40 festivals and events taking place each year on its territory.
                                           The Partnership also provides logistical support for these events, seeking
                                           to improve the visitor experience, the impact of the events as well as their

                                           The Partnership plays a critical role of co-ordinating between venues,
                                           promoters, business, and civil society in and around the district. There is
                                           also an important marketing and promotion role for them: signalling to the
                                           general public, to residents and workers in Montreal, as well as to tourists,
                                           what is happening in the public spaces that it oversees downtown.

Governance and                             The QDS Partnership was founded with 20 stakeholder members; now there
strategy                                   are 60 members. The QDS Partnership performs the role of the district’s
                                           secretariat, which reports to the Board of Directors. The Board set the overall
                                           direction of the district and do not get involved in day-to-day management
                                           decisions. City and Provincial representatives are on the Board, but not as
                                           voting members, they have observer status.

                                           In addition to a Board of Directors, the Partnership has six “active committees,”
                                           each with responsibilities for: Audit; Governance and ethics; Illumination;
                                           Programming; Performance venues; and Marketing and communications.
                                           Since a few years, the Partnership is in the process of expanding their
                                           membership, to better reflect the various interests in the district.

                                           The current strategy of the QDS Partnership has 10 goals:

                                           1.  A neighbourhood in balance
                                           2.  A hub of artistic creation, innovation, production and presentation
                                           3.  An international centre for artistic creation and cultural destination
                                           4.  The street: live wire and path of discovery
                                           5.  A coherent and complete neighbourhood, connected to its surrounding
                                           6. Public spaces: places for artistic expression
                                           7. Permanent infrastructure and facilities designed for cultural activities
                                           8. A unique signature, a distinctive iconography
                                           9. A vibrant, contemporary flavour
                                           10. Quartier des spectacles Partnership, creator and promoter of the vision

                                           The Partnership actively measures the economic activity in the QDS and the
                                           attendance at events.

Revenue and                                CAN$147m was granted by city provincial and federal funding at the start
expenditure                                of the district. The assumption was that this investment would be repaid
                                           through increased economic activity.

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                              GCDN

                                           Membership of the QDS Partnership is open to local businesses and
                                           organisations. A modest annual subscription fee ($100-500) is drawn from
                                           each member organisation. Some revenue comes from renting special
                                           equipment and services to the events hosted on the public venues. Just
                                           over 80% of the revenue of the Partnership comes from the Montreal city
                                           government. The Partnership does not actively seek commercial sponsorship
                                           for its events in the district, recognising it would deflect revenue from other
                                           organisations in the area.

                                           The bulk of Partnership’s expenditure is spent on programming, such as
                                           commissioning events and artwork in the public spaces over which it has

Strengths and                              The QDS has become a “model district” for others around the world,
weaknesses of                              regularly hosting delegations from other cities looking to establish similar
                                           entities with similar structures. The Partnership has a high degree of
governance model                           transparency and accountability. It is neither a “closed shop” nor does
                                           it conduct its activities in secret. This operational model may result from
                                           the personalities and political norms that shape public administration in
                                           Montreal. It may also result from the relative maturity of the district and
                                           the fact that it has enjoyed relatively generous levels of support from local
                                           political and commercial partners.

                                           Most local arts and entertainment organisations have a place on the Board
                                           of Directors or one of its active sub-committees. The QDS Partnership
                                           acknowledge that it could do more to represent the voices of artists in its
                                           decision-making structure but it also has to navigate between a multitude
                                           of existing interests in the district. The political geography of the downtown
                                           area does not perfectly map onto district: it overlaps two economic
                                           development districts and the Partnership is currently considering how to
                                           best liaise between them.

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                             GCDN

Case Study
                                           West Kowloon
                                           Cultural District
Origin story                               The idea of creating a cultural district in West Kowloon dates back to the
                                           late 1990s, when the local government was looking at a site in the harbour
                                           to develop. Shortly after, the concept of building the West Kowloon Cultural
                                           District12 featured in the Hong Kong Chief Executive’s Policy Address. The
                                           government of Hong Kong carried out a series of studies over the course
                                           of a two-year consultation; the public and members of the arts community
                                           expressed their aspirations for and expectations of the West Kowloon
                                           Cultural District. The consultation consisted of public forums, focus group
                                           meetings, a display of the proposed plan, discussions via online social
                                           networks, a Town Hall meeting, seminars and roundtable discussions.

                                           In 2006, the Hong Kong government proceeded to establish an independent
                                           statutory authority to develop the cultural district. In 2008, after consulting
                                           with the local arts community and other stakeholders, the government
                                           recommended developing various performing arts venues, a museum and

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                     GCDN

                                           an exhibition centre; it also recommended the district be a low-density
                                           harbour-front development with ample open space and close ties to
                                           its neighbouring community. The final plan was approved by the Chief
                                           Executive in January 2013. The first of the district’s cultural facilities will
                                           open at the end of 2018.

Activities                                 Sited on Victoria Harbour, the West Kowloon Cultural District is one of
                                           the largest cultural projects in the world. Envisioned as a quarter for arts
                                           and cultural learning, it will combine theatres, museums, exhibition and
                                           performance spaces including the Xiqu Centre; the M+ Museum and
                                           Pavilion; the Hong Kong Palace Museum and the Lyric Theatre Complex. The
                                           District also aims to cater to aspects of daily life like living, working, dining
                                           and shopping, with easy access between venues along a main vehicular-
                                           free artery called The Avenue. A 23-hectare public park on the site will
                                           incorporate open-air performance space, as well as display works of art.
                                           The district will be easily and conveniently accessible for all and there will
                                           be an emphasis on environmentally friendly features (with a minimal carbon
                                           footprint). Traffic, services and parking will be located below ground level,
                                           maximising safety and comfort whilst minimising pollution and congestion.

Governance and                             Since July 2008, the cultural district has been managed by The West Kowloon
strategy                                   Cultural District Authority (WKCDA), a statutory body established by the
                                           Hong Kong SAR Government under the West Kowloon Cultural District
                                           Authority Ordinance (Cap. 601). The WKCDA is responsible for the planning,
                                           development, operation and maintenance of the arts and cultural facilities
                                           and related facilities in the West Kowloon Cultural District.

                                           The WKCDA’s governance structure (as stipulated by its Ordinance) is
                                           comprised of the Board the Committees, the Subsidiaries and the Consultation
                                           Panel. It committees cover Executive, Audit, Development, Performing Arts,
                                           Remuneration, Investment and the Board of the M+ Museum Limited.

                                           Since its establishment in 2008, the Board has acted as the executive
                                           branch of the District Authority. It promotes engagement with the public
                                           and stakeholders. It was chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration
                                           until 2017, when he was replaced by the first Non-Government Chairman, Mr
                                           Henry Tang. The board consists of a Vice-Chairman, 14 non-official members,
                                           three public officer members and the Chief Executive Officer of the WKCDA,
                                           who serves as an ex-officio member. Some of the individual institutions of
                                           the district are establishing their own Boards, for example the M+ Museum
                                           and HK Palace Museum. More are being planned.

                                           The Consultation Panel exists to gather public views on matters related to
                                           the functions of the Authority. The Panel is composed of members coming
                                           from different sectors of the community with relevant knowledge and
                                           experience. Its meetings are open to the public.

Revenue and                                The district was provided with an upfront endowment of HK $21.6 billion from
expenditure                                the government (about USD $2 billion) to cover a proportion of construction
                                           costs for culture and arts facilities. Its funding model was originally based on

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                                 GCDN

                                           revenue that will be generated by performance venue rentals, programming
                                           ticketing income, retail, dining and entertainment rentals, and fundraising.
                                           The income of the Authority last year was reported as 477,492 (HK$000).

                                           As of 2017, the Authority has been granted the right by the government to
                                           develop commercial elements in the district (hotel/office/residences) for its
                                           income, with the aim of ensuring financial security going forward. The district
                                           is developing 20 commercial buildings with a 30-year time-frame “right to
                                           operate”, which will provide rental and other income whilst also sparking new
                                           local businesses.

                                           The majority of the district’s expenditure currently goes towards
                                           construction. This will change in the future to the various operating costs of
                                           the district: facilities and programming, exhibition costs, operating theatres,
                                           museums, etc. The district is starting to program what happens after its
                                           initial launch, but much will depend upon the revenues derived from its new
                                           commercial elements.

Strengths and                              The district’s governance is extremely transparent. It maintains a website
weaknesses of                              with extensive documentation of its reports, including financial, planning
                                           and activities, as well as invitations to forums for civic participation in the
governance model                           process.

                                           The Board has a clear mandate and provides a very effective strategic
                                           direction in a well-ordered and regulated manner. The Board, Committees
                                           and Consultation Panel hold regular meetings (nine last year) to address the
                                           development of the district. As a result of the government’s commitment to
                                           the district, there has been a huge influx of auction galleries and art galleries
                                           to the area.

                                           One weakness of the district’s governance is that it can be rigid and risk
                                           averse at times. It has many stakeholders to satisfy who themselves may
                                           be risk-averse. It is looking to better connect to foundations/funders and
                                           educational institutions. The district is a flagship project for Hong Kong
                                           and enjoys strong government support, but has taken nearly ten years from
                                           inception for the facilities to open. The delays have come from engaging the
                                           public in the project at each stage. This has invited considerable controversy
                                           and criticism towards both government and the Authority.

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                              GCDN

Case Study
                                           Exhibition Road
                                           Cultural Group
Origin story                               Exhibition Road Cultural Group (ERCG) is a partnership of leading cultural
                                           and educational institutions advancing innovation and learning in science
                                           and the arts in historic South Kensington, London. The district has its origins
                                           in the legacy of the Great Exhibition of 1851, making it one of the first
                                           planned cultural quarters in the world. The institutions had worked together
                                           informally for many years on joint initiatives, including seeking improvements
                                           to the public realm and in 2003, a design competition was held by the Royal
                                           Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for a plan to improve the Exhibition
                                           Road, which runs the length of the cultural quarter to improve the experience
                                           for visitors. In 2006, the ERCG was formalised as a group. Its initial formation
                                           was largely driven by directors of leading cultural institutions already in
                                           the area and the first co-chairs were the Director of the Royal Geographic
                                           Society and Director of Learning from the V&A. The redesign of the street
                                           by architects Dixon Jones as an open shared surface with larger pedestrian
                                           area, was completed in 2011, with an investment of £29m from the two local
                                           authorities and Mayor of London.

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                            GCDN

Activities                                 The ERCG is comprised of the following member institutions:

                                           ——   Natural History Museum
                                           ——   Science Museum
                                           ——   Victoria and Albert Museum
                                           ——   Imperial College London
                                           ——   Goethe-Institut
                                           ——   Institut français
                                           ——   Ismaili Centre
                                           ——   Kensington Palace
                                           ——   Royal Albert Hall
                                           ——   Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
                                           ——   Royal College of Music
                                           ——   Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851
                                           ——   Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
                                           ——   Serpentine Galleries
                                           ——   The Royal Parks
                                           ——   Design Museum
                                           ——   Ognisko Polskie
                                           ——   South Kensington Estates

                                           The members of the ERCG work together to improve how it feels to
                                           visit, work, study and live in the district by enhancing the public space.
                                           They facilitate an understanding of what is happening in the district and
                                           promote what the area has to offer. They also help each other to promote
                                           innovation, inspiration and learning, a central aim of the district. The ERCG
                                           also works to improve co-ordination and communication between its
                                           members on joint public programming activities. Examples of such activity
                                           include a Music Day festival that celebrated the diversity of international
                                           cultures; Creative Quarter, a day of over 60 free workshops, talks and
                                           activities for 13-19 year olds providing career advice and inspiration
                                           from leading designers, scientists and artists; and commissioned events
                                           bringing together leading international artists with scientists, researchers
                                           and creative thinkers.

Governance and                             The ERCG is an independent not-for-profit organisation. It is a Registered
strategy                                   Charity and a Limited Company that operates according to Articles of
                                           Association of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group. As a charity, the ERCG
                                           is required to publish an annual report with financial statements (which are
                                           available online) and hold an AGM for members.

                                           The nine-person Board of Directors (Executive Committee) is drawn from
                                           the 17 member organisations, of which two are associate members (Design
                                           Museum and South Kensington Estates). Current co-chairs of the Board are
                                           from the Natural History Museum and Imperial College. Chairs are appointed
                                           every year at the AGM, without limit on tenure. It has the following subgroups
                                           working on specific themes:

                                           —— Business resilience (wider than the membership, which extends to local
                                              businesses near South Kensington, meets quarterly)
                                           —— Communications group (meets quarterly)
                                           —— Master planning (meet less frequently: every six months)

GOVERNANCE MODELS FOR CULTURAL DISTRICTS                                                                              GCDN

                                           —— Events advisory group (residents, council officers, businesses, to look at
                                              programs of activity in the public realm, meets three times a year)
                                           —— Annual school event in the district (with Creative Quarter)

                                           The ERCG also works with artists on specific projects, and for example
                                           had a major artist on the selection panel for a recent commission. They
                                           work closely with local government and politicians: for example, the Local
                                           Authority is represented on the Board by a Senior Council Officer. The
                                           ERCG works with developers on public realm and infrastructure projects
                                           in the district, such as the underground station, to encourage them to
                                           bring forward plans that enhance the cultural quarter and therefore play
                                           a leading role in shaping the future development of the area. The group
                                           is currently seeking further improvements to the public realm to respond
                                           to changes since the road was built – including more than 5 million extra
                                           visits a year, the new V&A courtyard opening onto Exhibition Road and the
                                           security situation.

Revenue and                                The bulk of the district’s income is from members’ subscriptions, and this
expenditure                                has been constant since the founding of the district. The ERCG also brings in
                                           project funding throughout the year, as needed, but on a small scale (about
                                           £75k last year). Organisations pay subscriptions of (£2,000-£21,000 per year
                                           depending on turnover). They are supplemented by individual donations and
                                           grants from trusts and foundations. The district has an annual turnover of

                                           A few years ago, the ERCG focused funding on destination marketing to
                                           encourage greater cross-fertilisation of audiences between venues and
                                           attract new visitors. The first step was to reach the 10,000 people working
                                           in the district, to foster a greater sense of shared identity and belonging.
                                           About half of the district’s expenditure goes towards its own administrative
                                           costs (its small secretariat) with the remainder going to commissions,
                                           events, research and consultancy. In the future, the district expects to
                                           spend more on supporting improvements to the visitor experience in the
                                           public realm and promoting innovation in arts and sciences through its

Strengths and                              The model is transparent, since as a charity the ERCG is required to publish
weaknesses of                              a Directors’ Accounts and Reports that detail where they spend their money
                                           and how they pay their staff. The ERCG draws its strength from having the
governance model                           Directors and Deputy Directors of member organisations on the Board,
                                           who are very engaged and focused on what matters in the district. There is
                                           strength in an alignment of goals among the ERCG’s members, and many of
                                           the institutions are international, such the Goethe Institut.

                                           One weakness of the current model is that the Board, being comprised
                                           of senior leaders in their organisations, does not have as much time as
                                           they would like to work with the Secretariat. Also, because the Board is
                                           entirely drawn from its members, there is not necessarily much constructive
                                           challenge or outside perspectives on decision making, potentially
                                           leading to “group think.” They see potential for more involvement from
                                           wider stakeholders not represented in the current structure, namely local

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